Holiday attire

I did hardly any sewing for the holidays this year.  But E requested a red dress and wasn’t happy with any of the store-bought choices we found.  So I let her pick some red fabric (Riley Blake chevrons for the main fabric and floral print for the band) and got to work. This dress is loosely based on the Oliver+S library dress.  I started with the size 3T pieces and modified the heck out of them, somewhat using the tutorial here that I’ve used in the past.

holiday attire : lizzieville 2 holiday attire : lizzieville 1 I added the fabric band around the entire dress this time and cut two of each bodice piece to create a full lining.  I knew with the wild chevrons I wanted the front to be as simple as possible and I wanted to give the thin jersey a bit more substance.  I also added quite a bit of length and some width to the skirt pieces so that I could gather them in the front and back.   E was happy to have her red dress and wore it on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.   I was making this one up as I went along and was so happy that it fit!

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For O, I finally got around to trying out the Oliver+S art museum trousers.  I loved making these pants and he loves wearing them.  Despite being fancy they are very comfortable and easy for him to pull on and off with the elastic waist and faux fly.  The fabric is Kaufman shetland flannel in gray and this fabric was just as lovely as others have found.  It was admitidely not the best choice for pants as it’s getting rather fuzzy, as to be expected with flannel.  But it is very cozy and I like that it looks a bit like wool without the hassle.

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I made these in size 2 and they are plenty long on this tall guy.  No need to add length to this pattern.  O is embracing his 2-ness and refused to wear these pants on Christmas, but he happily wears them for all other occasions.  I want to make this pattern again immediately.  Maybe in a corduroy.  I love those little welt pockets.  And the side pockets.

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And his belly!

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That’s a wrap on my holiday sewing.  Hope your holidays were magical!

KCW: bellatrix geranium

At E’s school, each classroom is represented by an animal.  E’s room is the bats and she asked if I’d make her a bat dress.  I ordered some Alexander Henry fabric called Bellatrix the Bat and decided to make another Made By Rae Geranium dress.

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This is my favorite dress pattern and I knew I had to make at least one more in size 5.  For fall and winter wear I wanted to add sleeves, as I saw Rae do here.  I wasn’t sure how best to approach sleeves in a lined bodice so I asked Rae for help and was kindly pointed in the direction of this tutorial.  I used the sleeves from the Oliver+S library dress in size 4, adjusting the armhole openings to match, and it worked perfectly.  I do really hope that Rae puts out an expansion pack for this pattern as she hinted in her recent post.  Sleeves, collars, and closure options for this pattern would be so fun.

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The bodice pieces are a size 5 with 1 inch of length added.  I also added extra length and width to the skirt pieces and used a 2 inch hem which hangs very nicely.  I used almost all of my 1 1/2 yards of fabric and didn’t have enough to match the prints, but oh well.  I know this is a pretty wild dress, but I love the colors in the fabric and E was happy with the results.  She has decided (as of yesterday) to be a bat for Halloween so this dress will be a  good base for her costume.  I’m thinking a headband with bat ears and some quick wings like here will finish off the outfit.  Until then, E thought it was perfect for dancing around and book reading.

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On a side note, we just finished reading Gooseberry Park and its sequel by Cynthia Rylant and Arthur Howard, featuring a lovely cast of quirky animals (including a bat or two).  We thoroughly enjoyed both books, as we do the Mr. Putter and Tabby series from the same duo.  With kindergarten taking up so much of E’s time I’m always happy when we can squeeze in some extra book reading.  And on that totally unrelated to sewing note, I end my KCW.

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Library dress in City Weekend

The green library dress I made for E last wear has been worn and loved so much.  It was made by modifying the Oliver+S library dress for knit fabrics, following this tutorial from Melissa at Meow Made.  She’s been after me to make another library dress for months and I finally got it made.

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Her previous dress (using size 3 pattern as a base) is snug so I used the size 4 pieces this time.  I also added some length.  The main fabric is City Weekend, Liesl Gibson’s fabric released in 2010.  I found some stashed away in a fabric shop a couple years ago and have been saving it for something special ever since.  The gray contrast is Kaufman laguna jersey.  My pattern pieces didn’t quite line up in the front so I gathered the skirt piece a bit.  If I make another one I might run the band piece around the entire dress and maybe make the entire skirt a bit gathered, front and back.

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I sewed each seam with my machine first and finished the edges with a serger.  I’m still working on my hemming skills, however.  Right now I’m using the double needle (with polyester thread) and wooly nylon in the bobbin.  I think the tension is still a bit off, pulling the stitches a bit more than necessary.  I’ve also been hand-winding the wooly nylon thread onto the bobbin after reading that tip somewhere, but I’m not sure if that’s making things better or worse.  I haven’t investigated using my walking foot or stretch thread yet, so those are other options to consider.  I was so close to buying a cover stitch machine but just couldn’t decide which one to get and whether it would be worth storing and bringing out another machine to the kitchen table when I sewed.

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Anyway, even with less than perfect hems this is such a wearable dress and I love the colors.  If I had more time I’d be tempted to make her an entire wardrobe of these.  E would probably approve.  She grabbed this dress out of the clean clothes pile and insisted on wearing it today.  We got a few pictures before heading off to school.

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Of course, O wanted in on the fun.  These two crack me up every day.

Finally, some swingset skirts

I’ve had my eye on the Oliver+S swingset skirt for so many years.  But E had other skirts that she wasn’t outgrowing (skirts have a ridiculously long life compared to other articles of clothing, I’ve found) and so I just never got around to buying the pattern until now.  My pattern only goes up to size 5 so I knew I needed to get moving.  But I was happy to see that the pattern was rereleased yesterday (going up to size 14), so there can be more swingset skirts in our future.

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Both skirts are a size 5 with one inch of added length.  E prefers to wear her skirts low on her waist so the extra length was probably not necessary but should extend the wear.  The first one I made is purple corduroy with a lightweight white cotton for the lining.

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This is a simple pattern and my only problem was getting the elastic evenly distributed around the skirt.  It tended to bunch up on whatever side I’d inserted the elastic through but I’m hoping the ribbon covers up some of the bunching.  I think the ribbon is a cute feature but they are constantly coming undone.  I may need to just tack a little bow or ribbon in place because E is always fiddling with them.  Any hints on elastic or ribbon would be welcome.

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The other skirt is a Robert Kaufman shirting (same as the nightgown I made here).  I used the same fabric for the lining pieces because it’s what I had on hand and I’m really trying to get my fabric stash down to a couple bins.

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In other news, this gal is finally a kindergartener.  Schools were delayed with a strike, pushing our already late start date even later.  E is exhausted but happy.  We miss having her around but we are settling into our new routine.  And I’m also looking forward to having a bit more sewing time after a busy summer.

Strawberry hopscotch

Just in time for a Strawberry Festival visit, a strawberry dress for E.  This is an Oliver + S hopscotch dress in a Heather Ross knit.  I made this dress one time before and after rereading my notes and the comments I remembered how small this pattern runs.  I decided to buy the bigger size range and sew up a size 6 (rather than the lengthened size 4 I’ve been sewing lately). hopscotch : lizzieville 1 I didn’t make any changes to the pattern except to bind the sleeves with a little cuff instead of hemming.  I also skipped the interfacing on the front because I didn’t have the correct kind on hand.  This made the front a bit floppy and the seam allowance doesn’t like to lie flat.  In the future I might add a little piping/trim along that seam.  Or perhaps topstitch?  Now that I have the pattern thought size 12 I have plenty of time to experiment. hopscotch : lizzieville 4 I did notice that the stitches on the bottom hem have already pulled out in a few places.  I need to figure out the best combination of needle, stitch setting, and threads.  Mostly I just want to buy a coverstitch machine.  I often admire the lovely stitching on our store-bought shirts and wish I could recreate those finishes. hopscotch : lizzieville 5 hopscotch : lizzieville 6 A simple little dress, perfect for play.

Bucket hats, take 3

This is my third summer making Oliver+S bucket hats.  This year I made size large for both kids as they outgrew the size mediums from previous years.  O’s head is large for his age, but this pattern also seems to consistently run small.  I made the hats identical (andover chambray on one side, white with black dots on the other) as O loves hats but would always prefer to take E’s hat off her head.  I’m hoping that matching hats might make sharing easier.

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I added one inch to both brims to get a bit more sun protection.  I didn’t have any sew-in interfacing so I used fusible fleece for the brim and also used some lightweight interfacing on the crown.  These hats are so big, I felt they needed a bit of extra structure.

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I used the no-handstitch method from A Little Gray and it worked like a charm.  Normally I’m a big fan of hand stitching but loved the machine finish here.

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The kids will probably reach for other, store-bought hats most of the summer.  These tend to fly off in the wind or with much movement and they’re fairly heavy and hot compared with the nice fast-drying and lightweight fabrics from our REI hats.  But for now, matching hats are pretty fun.

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KCW : badminton dress turned nightgown

One last Kid’s Clothes Week project to share.

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I bought the Oliver+S badminton skort/top/dress pattern for the skort.  The top/dress wasn’t quite my style so I had no plans to make it.  But somehow knowing that E was about to outgrow the pattern, I felt this urge to sew up all the options.  I figured that a simplified version of the dress would work well as a summer nightgown.

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This is a size 4 with added width and length, no hem facing/scallops, and no bow detail across the bodice.  I really love the little shoulder ruffles.  The fabric is Botanica from Felicity Miller.  The colors and print are lovely but I miss the lightweight drape of the Heather Ross fabrics I’ve been working with lately.

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Even with the added length this dress is on the short side, although just fine for a summer nightgown.  I can definitely move into the size 5 Oliver+S patterns now.  I’ve been saving up a few patterns in the larger size range and it will be fun to pull them out come fall.

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I think that’s all for Kid’s Clothes Week, although we do have a sudden need for some new summer hats.  And I’m trying another sewing project for myself, after seeing all the fantastic Me Made May creations last month. We shall see!

KCW : strawberry skirt, strawberry bows

0315-15-sum-button3 This one has nothing to do with the traveling theme, but at least I made it this week.  This is the simple skirt from MADE.  It’s my third time with this pattern, after making two unicorn skirts before.  This is such a fast sew.  Perfect for this, a birthday gift for one of E’s preschool friends. skirt and bows : Lizzieville 3 I used the full width of the fabric, 15 inch length, and 1 inch elastic.  Nothing much to say about this one except that I do love this strawberry fabric from Heather Ross.  Lovely and light and the colors make me so happy.  To go along with the skirt I whipped up some hair bows from the free Oliver+S pattern.  Super fast and super easy. skirt and bows : Lizzieville 2 skirt and bows : Lizzieville 4 Kid’s Clothes Week summer edition + strawberries seems pretty perfect. skirt and bows : Lizzieville 1

Princess and the Pea Nightgown

E needed a spring nightgown.  I turned to my Japanese pattern books for ideas, as I think they tend to look like nightgowns more often than not.  I set E down with a stack of books and she picked out a few of interest.  We ended up with dress K from Sew Chic Kids in size 4.

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I added a ruffle to the bottom and took off the sleeves.  I should have used a size 6 for the bodice as it’s a tight squeeze getting on.  I should go back and enlarge the armholes so she can get in and out of this without help.  The skirt pieces were barely squeezed out of a yard of fabric.

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nightgown : Lizzieville 1

The main fabric is Heather Ross from the Far Far Away reprint.  I bought a bunch of Heather Ross fabrics to make E a quilt but then went for a yellow theme instead.  Now I’ve had fun using the fabric on other projects.  They are nicer than many other quilting cottons and I love the whimsical prints.  E picked out this Princess and the Pea themed fabric as it seemed appropriate for a nightgown.  I added the blue to balance out the big/bold print.

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She was thrilled to have a new nightgown and wore it right to bed.  Please excuse the post-sleeping wrinkles.  I take my pictures any way I can get them these days!

KCW : bias-trimmed bee apron

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E has needed a new art smock for quite a while now.  She’s worn this art smock from Little Things to Sew for almost three years and has completely outgrown the size small. Her previous smock has been so well-loved and heavily used that I was planning to make her a size up in the same pattern.  But after flipping through the book E decided she preferred the bias-trimmed apron instead. bias trimmed apron : Lizzieville 6 bias trimmed apron : Lizzieville 2 I made a medium (sizes 3-6) and it is plenty roomy on E.  Since the theme of Kid’s Clothes Week this time around was Wild Things I searched in my stash for some more animal fabric.  I came up with some more Heather Ross, this time two different bee-themed prints.  I had a fat quarter of each print and was able to squeeze this one out, just barely.  I love the vibrant colors although it’s definitely a bit wilder than my normal. bias trimmed apron : Lizzieville 5 I used skinnier-than-called-for bias tape and I like the more delicate look it created.  I hand finished most of the bias tape because I like how clean it looks.  I ran out of bias at the end so I just hemmed as usual.  Hopefully this will protect E’s clothes for the next three years. She’s such a busy artist these days and it’s so fun to watch her create. bias trimmed apron : Lizzieville 4 I think that’s it for Kid’s Clothes Week this time around.  Next up, some sewing for O.